Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 2

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484                                       CATCHES, SONGS, AND BALLADS.
request." His collection became very popular, and a second edition was printed in 1658. In 1667, Playford first published his Musical Companion, containing 143 catches and rounds, besides glees, ayres, part-songs, &c, in all 218 com­positions. To this additions ■were constantly made, and in 1685 he printed a second part, the popularity of which carried through ten editions between that year and 1730. The fourth edition, printed in 1701, contains fifty-three catches composed by Henry Purcell, and eleven by Dr. Blow.*
In and after the reign of Charles H., the best composers did not disdain to write catches; but if the great masters of Elizabeth's reign wrote any, they did not care to print them, for although there are numberless canons of that period extant, and in every form of that species of composition, I do not recollect to have seen a single catch of their production.*
Publication was then attended with little pecuniary advantage to authors. Not a fiftieth part of the music we know to have been composed by celebrated musicians was printed; and when an- author was induced to publish his works, he commonly assigned such reasons as " the solicitation of numerous friends," or "the many incorrect copies" that were in circulation. The sum to be received from a publisher was evidently small in proportion to what might be derived, in the form of presents for copies, so long as the work remained in manuscript; and the transcription of music required much less time than an ordinary book. When Playford and Carr published The Theater of Music, in 1685, in a preface to that collection they solicited the composers whose works they were printing to leave copies of all their new songs, " under their own hands," either at the shop of the one or of the other; promising, in return,—not to pay the authors, but " faith­fully to print from such copies; whereby they may be assured to have them perfect and exact." Composers were expected, " in justice to themselves, easily to grant" this favour, and so to "prevent such as daily abuse them by publishing their songs lame and imperfect, and singing them about the streets like ordinary ballads." It was a great indignity to an author to rank his works with ballad-tunes, and Playford reproves a pupil of Mr. Birkenshaw, as " an ignorant pre­tender to musick," for having asserted that there were only three good songs in his third book of Choice Ayres, and that " the rest were worse than common ballads sung about the streets by footboys and linkboys."
Old Thomas Mace was perhaps the only musician of the time who had a word
* See Notes on the Hon. Roger North a Memoiret of Musick, by Edward F. Rimbault.
b The method of making rounds or catches is so simple, that I shall here transcribe Christopher Simpson's direc­tions for composing them. These will be found at the end of his Compendium or Introduction to Practical Music. After teaching all the " Contrivances of Canon." he says, " I must not omit another sort of Canon, in more request and common use, though of less dignity, than all those which we have mentioned; and that is a Catch or Round: some call it a Canon in Unison; or a Canon consisting of Periods. The contrivance thereof is not intricate; for if you compose any short strain in three or four parts, setting them all within the ordinary compass of the voice; and then place one part at the end of another, in what order
you please, so that they may aptly make one continued tune, you have finished a Catch." He prints an example in score, and then the same written out with the mark of the period where another voice is to follow. That is equally exemplified in "Row the boat, Whittington" {ante p. 482). The two bars are the score compressed; the six bars are the three parts written out in the order they are to be sung. I have already said that the only difference between a catch and a round is that the former has some catch, or cross-reading in the words,—some "latent meaning or humour, produced by the manner in which the composer has arranged the words for singing, which would not appear on perusing them." See Note at p. 108.

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III